The South African Sports Confederation and Olympic Committee (SASCOC) today announced the SA Men’s and Women’s Hockey Teams that will feature in the Tokyo Olympic Games in July and August this year.
Speaking to Hockey the Podcast, SA Hockey CEO Marissa Langeni paid tribute to the teams who have worked tirelessly through the covid pandemic to this point.
“There has been so much anxiety around the games, what it will look like, travel and so much more. We have got here though and it’s all systems go at last! As South African Hockey we commend the selectors of the squads, the management and the players for the incredible work done in this process. Congratulations to the players selected, we look forward to you supporting at the games.”
The SA Women’s Hockey team features Lisa-Marie Deetlefs who will be going to her third Olympic Games. She is the only existing Olympian in the squad which features three uncapped players and four centurions including Quanita Bobbs, Lilian du Plessis and Celia Seerane. The team features a total of 977 caps, with an average of 61 caps per player. They will be captained by Erin Christie and supported by Phumelela Mbande.
Women’s Head Coach Robin van Ginkel was pleased with his squad:
“The year that we have had extra as a result of the postponement, has been a massive positive for us in growth. Our energy has been revived and I truly believe we are in a better position than we would have been a year ago. We are ready to take on the Olympic Games and so excited to be able to share our squad today.
We went through a rigorous selection process and came across the team that is what we believe is the right combination to make South Africa proud.”
The SA Women are in Group A of the tournament and start their campaign on the 24 July against Ireland. Their second game will take place two days later against Great Britain with Netherlands awaiting 48 hours after that. Its then a quick turnaround between match four against Germany on 30 July and match five against India just 24 hours later.
The SA Hockey Men’s squad announced features five Olympians. Rassie Pieterse, Tim Drummond, Taine Paton and Clinton Panther will add a second games to their cv’s having appeared in London in 2012, while Austin Smith also appeared in Beijing in 2008.
18-year-old Mustapha Cassiem and 21-year-old Sam Mvimbi will be playing in their first major tournament while every other player has featured in one major. The team has a combined 1 179 caps with the average of 74 per player. Tim Drummond will continue to lead the team as captain.
SA Men’s Head Coach Garreth Ewing could not wait to get to Tokyo.
“It’s definitely been an interesting 12 months. I think we have taken the positive in growing in maturity and culture over the past year. It is a great opportunity to make an improvement in the world rankings, but that is something we want to do over a sustainable period.
I am very pleased with the squad we have put together. It was a difficult process, but I am certain we have the team that can go to games and meet our objectives.”
The SA Hockey Men are in Group B. They will open their adventure against Great Britain on the 24 July and then take on Netherlands just 24 hours later in a quick start to their tournament. They next face world number 1 Belgium on the 27th before Germany await on the 29th. The South Africans close off their group stage with a match against Canada on the 30 July.
Listen to Hockey the Podcast – The Squad Announcement here